Regional Council supports steps being taken to support hospital workers

By Staff

September 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Region elected officials are supporting the  call for the creation of safety zones around hospitals to protect people seeking or providing medical treatment from harassment.

Members of Halton Regional Council

In a media statement released today the Region members collectively said:

Recent protests at hospitals have included hateful and harmful messages, harassment and misinformation. Healthcare itself and its people have been targets of abusive messages.

We condemn the abuse and harassment of healthcare workers.

Protests against government policy and action should take place at the places of government.

We represent our community’s continuing strong support for our healthcare heroes. There is an overwhelming majority in our community who support our healthcare people.

We know they join in our respect for everyone’s right of peaceful protest. We know they also believe protests must not take place in locations or in ways that could impede access to essential healthcare.

We all thank our healthcare personnel for the enormous sacrifices you have made and continue to make during this pandemic to heal us and keep us safe.

What a shame the elected officials have to make statements like this.

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Halton opening four community immunization clinics to help students catch-up on important vaccinations

By Staff

September 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

To support the health and safety of Halton students, Halton Region will begin operating community immunization clinics to offer the Hepatitis B, HPV and Meningococcal vaccines that are part of the school-based immunization program.

Clinics will open the week of September 20, and residents will be able to book an appointment through Halton’s online booking system at halton.ca/immunize  – starting Thursday, September 16.

“Supporting the health and safety of our community continues to be a top priority for Halton Region,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Halton residents have shown their incredible commitment to getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and protecting our community.

Push is on at the Regional level to get student brought up to date with the immunizations.

With many local pharmacies and primary care providers now offering the COVID-19 vaccine, Halton Region will be able to transition some of our clinic locations to help Halton students catch-up on their important school-based immunizations, as well as continuing to operate COVID-19 vaccine clinics for those who haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet.”

The COVID-19 pandemic required Halton Region Public Health to pause the delivery of school-based immunizations. Currently, over 30,000 students born in 2004-2009 require at least one of three school-based vaccines. Post-secondary students born in 2002 and 2003 who may have missed their opportunities to receive these important vaccines will also have a chance to catch-up. Eligibility is as follows:

Hepatitis B HPV-9 Meningococcal-ACYW 135

Birth Year 2006*, 2007*, 2008, 2009
• Females: 2002*, 2003*, 2004-2009
• Males: 2004-2009
• 2002-2009

Grade in 2021-2022 school year Grade 7, 8, 9, 10
• Grade 7-12
• Females: Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Females: Grade 12 in 2020-2021

• Grade 7-12
• Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Grade 12 in 2020-2021

*remain eligible until August 31, 2022. Series must be complete by that date.

Residents can book appointments starting September 16. Immunization clinics are planned for each municipality and are expected to run September 20 until mid-November. As more clinic options and appointments become available, residents are encouraged to check halton.ca/immunize regularly for the latest updates.

“As our COVID-19 vaccination clinics wind down, Public Health is ready to get our student population caught up on their school-based vaccines, which are critical for protecting the health and safety of our school community,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “This program will leverage the successes from our COVID-19 clinics, including many of the clinic locations, resources, supplies and technology, to efficiently implement these mass clinics and begin catching up students as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the launch of school-based community immunization clinics, Halton Region will continue to operate two COVID-19 vaccination clinics in September—the YMCA in Oakville and FirstOntario Arts Centre in Milton.

Appointments are available on a walk-in basis only. To learn more about options to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Halton, including clinic locations and hours, visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

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What if the pandemic never ends?

By Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What if the pandemic never ends?

What if we are going to experience one version of the Covid19 virus after another?

Where are the variants coming from – indeed, where did the virus first exist. There are far far too many counties that do not have aggressive vaccination programs.

We are currently dealing with the Delta version.  Given that less than 40% of the world’s population is getting vaccinated it is not that outrageous to suggest that there will be other, perhaps more dangerous variants.

Will we experience decades of limitations on what we can do?  As a society can we cope with that kind of a situation?

Segments of the population have very strong feelings about the current federal leadership.

The anti-vaxers are close to rioting on a daily basis.  Our human rights are being limited and we are tolerating that for the “better good” – but how long are we prepared to put up with that.

Are we going to find ourselves being inoculated a couple of times each year against the latest variant?

Ontario certainly doesn’t have the leadership it needs to get us through this – and the alternatives don’t inspire all that much confidence.

Societies go through immense change with situations like this.

The Western world became a much different place at the end of WW II – we saw decades of growth and prosperity the like of which human society has not seen since the Enlightments.

The scientists have delivered – and they might be able to continue to deliver at the same level.

But the world is made up of people, driven by their emotions and best interests for the most part.

Are we descending into a different Dark Age.

Do we have the capacity to overcome what we are faced with?

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Joseph Brant Hospital Implementing Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination - Progressive Plan to Reach 100% COVID-19 Vaccination

By Staff

September 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From a media release put out earlier today:

Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) is committed to providing high-quality care and a safe environment for our patients, their loved ones, our healthcare teams and our community.

The leadership being shown by the Burlington and area hospitals on the matter of vaccination is to be applauded.

The latest provincial modeling indicates that Ontario is in the midst of a fourth wave. There are concerns over the rapid transmission of the Delta variant, and its impact on hospitalization and the strain on critical care. We know that COVID-19 vaccination is a critical measure to minimizing the risk to our healthcare system and ending the pandemic.

In accordance with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directive #6 which mandates COVID-19 vaccination policies in high-risk settings, JBH is implementing a phased COVID-19 Immunization and Management Policy that will apply to all staff and physicians, volunteers, learners, contracted staff and other third parties effective September 7.

Our goal, consistent with our hospital partners in the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant, Burlington (HNHBB) region, is to have everyone who works at and with our hospitals to be fully vaccinated.

JBH is taking a progressive approach to achieving this goal, and is supporting our staff, physicians and other healthcare professionals who work in the hospital towards full vaccination. This includes completing formal and mandatory education on COVID-19 vaccines by September 17 and undergoing twice-weekly rapid antigen testing prior to reporting to work, starting September 16.

Should this initial phase result in less than 100 per cent of eligible staff being fully vaccinated in the weeks ahead, JBH will proceed to mandatory vaccination effective November 1, 2021.

We have already put in place additional policies that will require all eligible new hires, as well as students, volunteers, contracted staff and third parties who come to our hospital to be fully vaccinated by November 1.

There is significant evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, and the best defense to beat COVID-19. Full vaccination is critical to protecting our patients, their loved ones and our healthcare workers from COVID-19, while helping to maintain capacity in the healthcare system so we can continue to provide care to our community when it is most needed.

As healthcare workers, we all have a responsibility to minimize the risks to the safety of our patients and their essential care providers, using all of the tools at our disposal. This includes our longstanding safety policies, Personal Protective Equipment, Infection Prevention and Control practices – and now vaccination. It is the right thing to do, and a necessary step to ending this pandemic.

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Food Truck Festival at Spencer Smith Park this weekend.

By Staff

September 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Those with patios won’t like it – but thousands of people are expected to spend some time at the Burlington Food Truck Festival taking place for the next three days at Spencer Smith Park.

More than 30 food trucks will be in the park.

FREE ADMISSION, cold beer, delicious food, and local performers geared to entertain the masses!

Sep 10:    5pm – 10pm
Sep 11:    12pm – 10pm
Sep 12:    12 pm to 8 pm

Covid Policy
Contact tracking & a COVID wellness questionnaire must be submitted upon arrival to the festival. Signage will be posted at the entrance (located off of the Promenade) with a QR code for guests to scan with the camera on their phone.

Social distancing is required at all times. If social distancing is not possible, masks must be worn.
Spencer Smith Park

*Responsible pet owners may bring their well-behaved leashed pets to the festival.

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Abuse & Harassment of our Frontline Healthcare Staff & First-Responders has to Stop

Statement from Burlington’s Community Leaders in Support & Protection of our Frontline Healthcare Staff &

First-Responders from Abuse & Harassment

Community leaders have spoken out strongly against the harmful messages, harassment and misinformation targeted against our medical and healthcare professionals.

In their statement they said:

“We would like to take a moment to thank our front-line hospital and health workers, physicians and first- responders for your sacrifices throughout this pandemic and going above and beyond every day to keep us safe. We stand with you, and know that in these times of increasing volatility, our healthcare professionals and first-responders need to see our community’s support once again.

“Recently, there have been protests held outside of the Joseph Brant Museum, adjacent to Joseph Brant Hospital, and other healthcare settings throughout the province and country, as well as at the private residences of elected officials. We support everyone’s right to peaceful protest, even when we do not agree on the subject matter; however, recent protests have included harmful messages that result in emotional distress and moral injury.”

In the past week the Gazette has received a number of Letters to the Editor that spew the kind of comments we are seeing on national and local television.

When we think the content qualifies as hate messaging we will forward them to the police along with the IP address the words came from.

We are all for free speech – but this kind of hate stuff is not acceptable.

We along with the community leaders condemn, in the strongest of terms, this targeted and misdirected abuse and harassment of healthcare workers that has occurred during these recent protests.

“To protestors: Please take your messages to the decision-makers at City Hall, Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill, and away from our hospitals and the private homes of our community leaders. We also ask you to be considerate of those who need access to our hospital for life-saving treatments and those visiting their loved ones.

Healthcare workers do not make policy.
“To our local hospital and healthcare professionals and first-responders: Please know there is an overwhelming majority in our community who support you and the enormous sacrifices you have made and continue to make during this pandemic. We’ve publicly shown our support and appreciation for your sacrifices by standing outside of our homes, on our balconies and on sidewalks applauding you through the FrontLine Clap; holding drive-by parades of emergency vehicles and elected leaders in front of Joseph Brant Hospital; lighting our pier blue and posting countless messages of support on social media.

“Additionally, the Burlington Pier will be lit blue tonight in support of our healthcare and frontline workers and the City of Burlington is planning for additional days later this month.”

“You have all gone above and beyond every day, putting yourselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. We are immeasurably grateful for your continued strength, perseverance, and commitment to caring for the people that you serve. Please know that we acknowledge and appreciate the positive difference that you are making in the lives of all your patients, their families and our community members.

“We thank you and we stand with you!”

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You've got mail - MoH has information for you

By Staff

September 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

You’ve got mail!

The Medical Officer of Health for the Region has issued an amended Letter of Instructions to workplaces to keep staff and patrons safe

The Class Order has also been revised to reflect Provincial directions for case and contact management

Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani.

Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, has issued an amended Letter of Instructions to businesses and organizations to support their efforts to protect their staff and customers/patrons from COVID-19, preventing the spread in their workplaces and our community.

The amended Instructions will replace two existing sets of Instructions issued on May 8 and February 12, consolidating the information and making it easier for businesses and organizations to understand and implement these requirements and current Provincial Rules for Step 3.

The amended Instructions outline key public health measures that workplaces must take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also provide guidance to workplaces on what to do if one or more of their workers has COVID-19 presenting the potential for a workplace outbreak.

New in the amended Instructions are requirements for businesses and organizations with 100 or more workers physically present at the workplace (including those working in the community) to:

• Establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 safety plan
• Establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 workplace vaccination policy

The amended Instructions also provide additional contact tracing measures in certain settings, including the collection and maintenance of customer/patron contact information for places where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure through closer contact or lack of masking.

This will help Halton Region Public Health to achieve prompt contact tracing for high-risk COVID-19 exposures – essential to preventing further spread of the Delta variant, which we know to be highly transmissible and present greater risk for severe illness and hospitalization especially for the unvaccinated.

The amended Instructions are effective Friday, September 10, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

To read Dr. Meghani’s amended Instructions to businesses and organizations and for more information and guidance, please visit halton.ca/COVID19.

Class Order updated to align with Provincial guidance for case and contact management

Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health has also amended Halton’s Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Effective 12:01 a.m. on September 10, 2021 to reflect new Provincial directions for case and contact management of COVID-19.

Key amendments to Halton’s Class Order, which requires those with or exposed to COVID-19 to self-isolate to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, include:

• Updated guidance for how long people must self-isolate based on their symptoms

• Reducing the length of time people with high-risk exposures must self-isolate from 14 to 10 days

• Relieving people with high-risk exposures who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 infections of the requirement to self-isolate, at the discretion of Halton Region Public Health

 

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What will be open and what will not be open - weather is expected to be good - watch for pop up events

By Staff

September 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed on Labour Day, Monday, September. 6.

*Important information regarding COVID-19: The information provided below is accurate as of Aug. 31, 2021. In the event of any changes made by the Province of Ontario to current COVID-19 public health measures the Gazette will report them.

City Service – Holiday Closure Information

Animal Services

The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19.

To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit Burlington.ca/animal.

The transit station on John Street WILL NOT be open.

Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit will operate a Sunday schedule on Sept. 6. For real-time bus information and schedules, visit myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6.

City Hall

The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Monday, Sept. 6. To submit a customer request to the City’s contact centre, please email city@burlington.ca.

Many service payments are available online at Burlington.ca/onlineservices.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office

Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6.

With the exception of the Labour Day closure, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking enforcement officers will be out there – looking for you.

Parking

Free parking is available downtown, on the street, in municipal lots and in the parking garage (414 Locust St.) on weekends and holidays, including Labour Day.

NOTE:  The Waterfront parking lots (east and west at 1286 Lakeshore Rd.) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.
Paid parking, on weekends only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Beachway Park (1100 Lakeshore Rd) is in effect, using HONK Mobile.

Residents of Halton Region can apply for 10 days of free parking at Burlington.ca/parkingexemption.
LaSalle Park Community Marina trailer parking fees are in effect on holidays.

Parking exemptions are required to park overnight on city streets and for longer than five hours. Visit Burlington.ca/parkingexemption.

Recreation Programs and Facilities

Drop-In Swimming and Skating

Drop-in swimming and skating times vary over the long weekend. Outdoor pools are open on Sept. 6 for the last day of the season, weather permitting.

Tim Hortons Free Summer Swimming

Tim Hortons presents free swimming for the community on the following dates:

– Friday, Sept. 3 at Tansley Woods Pool, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

– Saturday, Sept. 4 at Nelson Pool, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

– Sunday, Sept. 5 at Mountainside Pool, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Pre-registration for all swims is required. Online registration opens for residents 25 hours prior to the start of a swim. Visit Burlington.ca/dropinandplay.

Splash Pads

Cool off at one of the city’s splash pads. See locations at Burlington.ca/outdoorplay.

Book your tee time on line

Tyandaga Golf Course

Book your tee time at Tyandagagolf.com.

Follow @BurlingtonParksRec on Facebook and @Burl_ParksRec on Twitter for the latest updates.

Roads, Parks and Forestry

The administrative office will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6. Essential services will be provided as required.

This morning, Friday September 3rd, the province reported there were 870 new infections of which 624 were people who had not been vaccinated.

We are in this 4th wave because people chose not to be vaccinated.

If you know people who have chosen not to get vaccinated – talk to them.

 

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Will the hospitality sector begin standing up for their clients?

By Pepper Parr

September 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

So – there is going to be a vaccine passport. Took the Premier long enough to get a wiggle on. He is right however – why isn’t there a federally issued Covid19 Passport?

Being able to prove that you are vaccinated is critical. Getting everyone fully vaccinated is proving a little difficult but we are at close to 80% and with the need to have that passport to be able to get into a restaurant or an event will push the number to, ideally 95%.

Provision has been made for the exceptions.

For those who don’t want to get vaccinated there are limits to what they can do in a public setting.

The one that really galls me is this. I have to be able to show that I have been fully vaccinated but the person taking my order in a restaurant, but the person serving the food and the person cooking the food does not have to prove they are vaccinated.

I was in a restaurant in Guelph talking with the owner and he said that he could not ask his employees if they were vaccinated.

Really?

That restaurant owner wants me to have a meal in his restaurant but he isn’t prepared to ensure that his staff is Covid free.

I want to go to a restaurant that has the courage to put a sign on the front door saying all their staff are vaccinated.

Those that aren’t – tell them not to bother coming to work until they are vaccinated. What about their human rights? What about my right to stay alive?

There is something wrong with a set up that requires me to be vaccinated in order to be served but does not require the server to be vaccinated.

If the restaurants want our business, which many of us really want to give them, then let those restaurants step up and be bold enough to make it clear they are watching out for us.

Restaurants turned to the city for help and they were given help. A lot of taxpayer money was shoveled out the door to help the hospitality sector and most people were happy to see this done.

Our Council members urged us to support the hospitality sector and to begin shopping locally.

I’d like to see those in the hospitality sector looking out for me while I dine in their establishments.

I’d also like to see the Burlington Downtown Business Association counseling their members to care for the people that they want to attract.

There is a film crew using the third floor of the building my office is in.   I rent office space on the third floor.  Every member of the film crew is masked.

Juliana Robertson

Juliana Robertson, a paramedic by training, asked me to come to the table she had set up so that she could put a little stick up my nostril to ensure that I was not infected even though I told her I have been fully vaccinated.

Sorry she said – you have to do this. I surely had the right to go to my office and do my work.  I decided not to challenge her right to “invade my privacy” She asked me to wait 10 minutes for the results and then told me I was good to go.

Robertson runs Reel Medics in Motion – her market is the film production companies  doing their filming in Hamilton. She is the Medic/Covid Supervisor on the Ghosts of Christmas Past production.  She does the Covid testing and is the first responder for anyone hurt on the film set.

It would be really nice if the hospitality sector was as conscientious.

 

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Parkinson's in the Park - exercising and socializing

By Staff

September 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation is excited to announce  that our Parkinson’s in the Park exercise programs  will be offered in Burlington as well as Mississauga-

These include –  Tai Chi and Walking/Pole Walking classes. These classes are designed to help those with Parkinson’s get moving , get outdoors and also provides a social environment. Our experienced instructors will ensure  everyone’s  health, safety and enjoyment.

The Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on fundraising to support and enhance the lives of individuals and families living with Parkinson’s in Halton/Peel. Our decision to form the PFPF facilitates our commitment to keeping the funds raised in our Community.

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Liberal candidate for Burlington Karina Gould had a lot more to say about what the government did in the last Parliament

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the second part of her interview with the Gazette, Burlington Liberal candidate, Karina Gould said she looks forward to what Canada can expect if the Liberal administration wins re-election.

Karina Gould rousing her troops on the campaign trail.

Gould discussed the snap election call, pandemic recovery, vaccine mandates and what the country will look like for those who refuse the vaccine, government role in internet censorship, Bill C-10, the cost of living, and environmental racism in Canada.

Much has been made about Justin Trudeau’s decision to call a snap election, surveys conducted by Gazette field reporters returned mixed reactions skewing negative.  The Leader of the Opposition blasted the decision as everything from a cynical power grab to a dereliction of duty. Gould defends the election call, assuring Canadians the dissolving of parliament will not hinder the response to a potential fourth COVID-19 wave or Afghanistan evacuation. Gould also thinks this is an important time for an election.

“It’s been a year and a half that we’ve been in the pandemic, our systems are in place, whether it’s income supports, we’ve extended those right through to the end of October. So everything is in place to respond at the federal level, the Public Health Agency of Canada is continuously involved with the provinces and territories in terms of pandemic response. And whether it’s the recovery hiring benefit, whether it’s the recovery benefit for people who still can’t go back to work, or whether it’s the rent subsidy, those programs already exist and are working and are extended beyond the election. So there’s nothing preventing us from responding to the fourth wave.

“When it comes to Afghanistan, Minister Garneau, Minister Mendicino, Minister Sajjan, and I are working on it on a daily basis. We also put together before the election the policy on bringing in 20,000 Afghan refugees, we already had our airlift set up. So there’s not a lot of major policy decisions that need to happen because that infrastructure was already in place before the election was called. Canada continues to be engaged and involved, and we’re still responding. And we’re responding very quickly to things as they’re evolving on the ground.

Chaos and fear at the Kandahar airport in Afghanistan while thousands wait for an airlift out of the country.

“I actually do think it’s an important time to have an election. There’s been a lot that’s happened over the last two years that was not anticipated. When we went to the polls in 2019. We brought in a whole lot of new programs that no party ran on in 2019. And so it’s a moment to say to Canadians ‘okay, we’ve turned the corner and the pandemic, you know, we’re the most vaccinated country in the world, yes, we’re concerned about a fourth wave. But we also want to set ourselves up for recovery. And these are the plans that we’re putting forward for recovery. Is this what you agree with? Is this what you want us to be doing right now?’ And so those are the questions that we’re asking Canadians,” said Gould.
.
Vaccine mandates are quickly becoming a dominant election issue with Justin Trudeau eager to paint Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s suggestion regular testing would be adequate for those who refuse the vaccine as dangerous. Gould took a bipartisan approach when speaking of what the future of Canada looks like for those who refuse vaccination without medical justification, pointing to Thursday’s dismissal of a Conservative MPP for refusing vaccination. Vaccine mandates will allow people to choose not to get the vaccine, but the choice to abstain will lead to fewer choices elsewhere.

“We’ve seen the Ontario Conservative Party saying, ‘if you’re not vaccinated, and you don’t have a legitimate medical reason, then you’re not part of our caucus.’ We saw one MPP, who was ejected from caucus on Thursday, said that if you’re not vaccinated without a legitimate medical reason, then you can’t come into work. So these are the kinds of questions that we’re asking ourselves, Canadians have stepped up in a huge way, right here in Burlington, I think over 80% of our population who’s eligible has gotten their vaccine. And so people have really stepped up to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community, and they want to get back to doing the things that they want to do.

The drive now is to get the unvaccinated to go for their needle .

“But we’ve seen that this is really becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We put in a mandate at the federal level to have all federal employees vaccinated to say, ‘if you’re going to take a train or a plane, you know, where you are in close quarters with other people, you need to be vaccinated.’ It’s everybody’s choice at the end of the day, whether they want to get vaccinated or not. But there may be some things they might not be able to do because they might be putting other people at risk. And that’s not fair to those people who have really done everything they can to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Gould.

Bill C-10 has been the subject of Conservative criticism for infringing on free speech through internet censorship.  Gould says the bill is “nothing of the sort”. And adds that Conservatives supported Bill C-10, which she says is about updating the Broadcasting Act to include the internet and protect cultural identity, until they decided to take the line of censorship which “wasn’t even entirely accurate.”

Independent of Bill C-10 Gould didn’t dismiss the government playing a role in internet censorship, lamenting the lack of protection from hate speech online.

“When the conservatives were in power, they got rid of section 13 of the Human Rights Act. And section 13 protected Canadians from hate speech online. We think we need to bring something back, that protects people from hate speech online, you’re protected from hate speech, out on the street, right? In communal settings. But for some reason, there’s differentiation with what happens online. I think that’s a really old way of seeing things because, for people who’ve grown up with the internet, there’s no difference between what happens online and what happens offline. And so we’ve been hearing calls, particularly from minority groups, from Jewish groups, Muslim groups, black Canadians, Indigenous Canadians, the list goes on and on and on, that they need those protections for hate speech online because we’re seeing a rise in hate rhetoric. And so this is a really important conversation and debate to have. And you know, we already have those provisions in the offline world, there’s no reason we shouldn’t apply what we wouldn’t accept offline to be happening online,” said Gould.

Housing that people can afford is critical across the country.

Cost of living is always at the forefront of the national conversation for Canadians, O’Toole has called it a crisis, Gould pointed to a number of areas the Liberal government is helping combat growing affordability concerns. Gould mentioned the 2017 $40 billion National Housing strategy in response to Conservatives taking the federal government out of housing when in power. She alluded to building affordable units in Halton and making it easier to put a down payment on a home in metropolitan areas where the cost of living is higher. In the rental market, Gould pointed to foreign buyers tax on properties to potentially steady the soaring costs of rent. Gould also spoke about the $10 a day childcare, and as many of her Liberal colleagues she sees economic benefits in the investment.

“We’ve signed agreements with eight out of the 13 provinces and territories for $10 a day childcare. In our community, you can be paying between $1500 and $2000 a month for childcare for children, one to four, right. And so, on top of your mortgage, on top of your grocery bills, on top of all of these things, you basically are paying for a university education and the first four years of your child’s life, right?

“We’re helping out families, we’re getting more women into the workforce. And it’s really good for the economy. So this is a super, super important program. Unfortunately, the conservatives said if they get elected, they’re going to scrap it entirely. Once again, they’re demonstrating they’re not there for kids, they’re not there for families, and especially not there for women,” said Gould.

Bill C-130 to redress environmental racism made some progress under the Trudeau administration and if passed it would be the first of its kind. Gould spoke about how important it is to acknowledge environmental racism, which is particularly rampant among Indigenous communities who still suffer from boil water advisories, and exposure to unsafe environments such as Sarnia’s chemical valley where 60 chemical plants and oil refineries sit in a 15-mile-wide section outside town and cancer rates are high.

The Black Lives Matter statement was painted on the sidewalk in front of city hall. It was important.

“It’s hugely important. And I think it’s another lens that you have to put on policy, that and laws that you’re putting forward. The past year has brought racism to the forefront in a big way, which is good because we have to be dealing with it. It’s terrible that we’re still dealing with the realities of racism in 2021, but we’ve had a completely different conversation. And we need to have that conversation because it cannot be acceptable anymore. And it needs to be part of the conversation and every policy that we’re putting forward. And that’s why our government does gender-based analysis that looks at the inter-sectional discrimination that happen through all of our policies, and so whether it’s environmental, whether it’s economic, whether it’s social, we need to be taking all of that into account,” said Gould.

Gould’s final message to voters was that the Liberal government has had their backs through the pandemic and will have their backs through recovery.

“I think the most important thing they should have on their mind is that we need a government that’s going to be there for them for the recovery. We were there for them throughout the pandemic. We have their backs, and we’re going to have their backs as we get through to recovery. I really hope I can count on their support on September 20. I’m so passionate about Burlington, I love this community. I’m so proud of how we have responded to the pandemic here. I’m, like, blown away by the kindness, the generosity, the resilience of this community. And I really hope that I’ve earned their trust to continue serving them for the years,” said Gould.

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Was our reader wrong ? City hall thought so.

By Pepper Parr

August 26th,2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We ran a story last week on small events that were taking place in the downtown core that were not very well promoted.

A trusted reader provided the information.

The Communications unit at city hall took exception and asked us to correct the story.

Their view was that:

None of the events in your post was organized by the Mayor or her office. The Mayor was also not at the Aug. 21 event and did not “open” the event as your post claims.

  • CRAFT Live Marquis Music Series is an extension of a Community Support Fund project which took place virtually over the winter on YouTube and YourTV. Bling Events International presented these live music events in recognition and celebration of Black, African, Caribbean, Canadian appreciation month – which was a proclamation Carlene Ling (Event Organizer) requested and received through the Mayor’s office. This means the Mayor endorsed it but was not the organizer
  • The event for Indigenous people was not promoted because we were in a different stage of the pandemic and there were very restrictive gathering numbers
  • The Islamic prayer was organized by the mosque with a three-day turnaround time. There was no time for a wide promotion

Most of these events are listed as “pop-up events.” The nature of pop-up events is that they are not intended to have a large promotional campaign and not intended to draw large crowds. These work quite well for our pandemic situation and precautions.

The communications people added:

About the Community Support Fund

The Community Support Fund program will join existing programs to provide financial support to residents and community groups who want to enrich and connect the Burlington community through sport, recreation, art and cultural experiences. The combined fund will simplify the funding process and make it easier for Burlington residents and community groups to access financial supports to enhance their community’s well being. The amalgamated Community Support Fund brings the Love my Neighborhood, Community Development Fund, The Neighborhood Matching Fund and the Arts and Culture Fund together temporarily during COVID-19 and is intended to create a sense of community.

This fund will help a variety of sport, recreation, art, and cultural events, programs and projects in Burlington neighbourhoods and communities. The fund supports two types of applications:

  • Community gatherings/Neighborhood parties/Health and fitness classes and similar events for an amount of up to $1,500 per application
  • Special projects for an amount of up to $5,000 per application

Applicants can apply for funding one-time per year. The program is designed to recognize the importance of supporting Burlington’s communities during these challenging times. By providing access to funding, the City is looking for innovative ideas to connect and enhance our community; events/activities that can offer exciting and meaningful opportunities to strengthen and nourish community spirit.

Did we get it wrong?  Was our reader misinformed.  We have worked with this reader for some time.

Here is what we published on the 23rd:

It appears that the Mayor is sponsoring or holding events in the downtown core but not telling very many people about them

That has some residents ticked.

Mayor Meed Ward just may be doing the right thing.

The Caribbean Association was giving it a go –

What the city doesn’t need is large crowds of people gathering to take part in an event. Tough to maintain social distancing under those circumstances.

Holding small pop-up type events does help give people something to do.

Our reporter toured the downtown area and on up to the Orchard and then on over to Bronte Creek Park and found few people outdoors – they heat was surely part of the reason for people staying home.

The Mayor opened Black/Caribbean month. Residents are complaining that no one was notified. “The only way I found” said our reader, “about last night was chatting with one of the girls involved. I was watching the BPAC music and she said I should come to City Hall on the 21st for a party. I asked if she was sure and she said Yes – the Mayor is putting it on.

“That’s when I went to the tourist office to dig a little deeper. They send out happenings in Burlington all the time.

“Marianne told me the last time, they didn’t want to advertise the prayer celebration for the indigenous kids, prayer for the Muslim family (hundreds of attendees), pride party… so as to keep the numbers down.

“Is that not selfish to the rest of Burlington?

Wasn’t much of a crowd..

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns got wind of the event and sent out a late notice. Our reader thought this should have been “virtual”

“Pretty much like all the rest of MMW’s “events”. If we can’t celebrate CANADA DAY (except virtually), how is it we can celebrate all these other days outdoors?

Our writer though that the downtown business people might have been able to benefit as well had there been more notice.

“Two Saturday ago”, continued our reader (who chose not to be identified) the same thing. Party at Spencer Smith Park put on by the mayor and nothing advertised so that we could all attend. I found out after the fact.

“I’m not sure if you are aware, but next Saturday it’s back at Spencer Smith again.”

There are times when the Mayor can’t win for trying. Managing public expectations is not a simple task.

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Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives identifies the Care Economy as something critical and in need of changes

By Staff

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette has decided to look to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for guidance on just what the issues are in the election that is underway.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice.

Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.

Seniors have earned the right to respect and dignity as they enter retirement.

There are important choices to make during this election. The CCPA sends us the best information they have based on their ongoing research.

“The big question they suggest  is whether we all, by default, revert to the “same old, same old” after the pandemic crisis. Or will we seize the opportunity to build back better, recognizing that this last mile will be the hardest?”

They identify what the define as the Care Economy as a major issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a well-overdue conversation to the forefront: In times of crisis, who gets sidelined? And what must our governments do to protect the most vulnerable?

The CCPA team has spent the last year publishing research that highlights the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians.  Their conclusion? Without significant policy changes and significant investments in the care economy, it’s likely that seniors, care workers, women, and marginalized people will continue to be sidelined, with devastating consequences.

As we dive head first into this election season, all political parties will need to show how they will make sure that no one is left behind.

Seniors: To better protect seniors, who experienced the most devastating impacts of COVID-19 in the first few waves, Canada needs to transition away from for-profit care models.

The pandemic has taught what we were doing that was wrong with those in long term care. The profit motive has to be removed.

The Care Economy: COVID-19 has shown us how essential care work is to our economy, from child care to long-term care. We need more publicly led services.

Women’s Return to Work: Women need to be prioritized in the post-COVID recovery, with more affordable, publicly funded child care options, a safer and more inclusive work environment, and decent work opportunities.

Tackling Discrimination: Now that we’ve uncovered the inter-sectional impacts of COVID-19, it’s time that all political parties dismantle barriers to full participation in society.

Something to think about as we listen to what each of the political parties have to say as they vie for our votes.

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Shop Small Crawl gets a mixed response from downtown merchants - runs through to September 5th

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 26, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Brant street is home to numerous small businesses that have fought hard to stay alive as business entities during the Covid Pandemic.

To encourage customers to continue shopping at these businesses the Burlington Downtown Business Association created a late summer promotion called the Shop Small Crawl that has over 35 businesses participating in the down town area with gifts ranging from free $50 gift cards to $500 grand prizes.

“It’s a great multi level networking concept so all the businesses are really together,” said ODDSPOT store manager Rich Marcone.

The promotion in its earliest days was said to bring in lot of eager customers from both in and out of Burlington attracting age groups from teens to mid 40’s.

Its reaching clients from a larger area and not just local,” said Natasha Farley of lingerie D’Amour.

The Shop Small Crawl has been running since August 21st and will continue until September 5th.

“Definitely the first day, I saw a lot of people interested in it the first day (August 21st),” said Julia Smith of Cento Gardens.

After the weekend passed businesses were expecting the promotion to keep bringing in more customers but due to Covid paranoia as well as most people keeping busy with work throughout the week, business in stores has slowed down to the pace it was at before Shop Small Crawl happened.

Some businesses say that the promotion had little effect on the traffic that comes through their area; most rely on their local and loyal customers.

“I haven’t necessarily seen a huge uptick in clients in association with it,” said Burlington Physiotherapy & health clinic employee Kate Reeds.

Despite the low turn outs, the Brant St. businesses are still optimistic about the campaign bringing in more business while others feel that the campaign was effective for a little while but not strong enough to bring big turnout after getting to the middle of the week.

“It’s a great benefit for everyone involved,” said Joe Dogs Gasbar Grill manager Adona Brown.

Businesses such as Cento Gardens continue to promote the Shop Small Crawl with social media promotions.

“We are putting it on our Instagram,” said Jennifer Klassen of Cento Gardens.

All Brant Street businesses say despite the staggering success of the campaign it was a very good way to support small, local businesses and hope that the Burlington Downtown association create make more programs like this in order to keep small businesses afloat during the Covid pandemic.

“We always support these programs because its downtown and all the businesses downtown work together on this … anything related to downtown we will support,” said Klassen.

Clothing stores in the Brant street area are having continued success with their online offerings selling to loyal customers.

“We’ve had online business that helped quite a bit,” said Ally Tesoni of Joelle’s.

Brant street businesses have felt connected to each other not only because of the program; they are all struggling to not go bankrupt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reminder: Public School Board holding a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday

By Staff

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health will lead off the Town Hall meeting

The Halton District School Board will be holding a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, starting at 7:00 pm

It is a live stream information session and will be available on the HDSB website where it will be streamed on the school board Facebook channel.

Dr Hamidah Megani Meghani, the Regional Medical Officer of Health will present first, then Board Staff members will answer answer questions that have been submitted.

A form for submitting questions was shared earlier and will be available during the live-stream.

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City workers will be required to be vaccinated; access to city hall will have tighter COVID19 rules

By Staff

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is preparing a COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy applicable to all City staff, regardless of work location.

This policy will require all City staff to show proof of vaccination, and provide reasonable time for staff who are not yet fully vaccinated time to do so, with some exceptions for those who are legally entitled to accommodation.

Rapid Antigen Testing for those City staff not yet vaccinated prior to entry into the workplace will also be required.

An update on this new policy will be brought to the September 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee meeting.

City requiring all staff to be vaccinated – even if they are not working at city hall

At that committee meeting, the City will also be looking into a potential vaccine policy for the public entering City facilities to help protect staff and the public.

The health and safety of staff and residents continues to be a top priority for the City.

The City, as an employer, has an obligation under Ontario law to take all necessary precautions to protect its workers. The City will be encouraging contractors and partners of the City to do the same in order to protect our staff, their employees and the public we serve.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward supports the policy and said: “While science continues to support the effectiveness of vaccinations in this pandemic, we can understand there is some apprehension about a required proof of vaccine. It’s important to note this is not a new concept in Canadian society. Proof of vaccination against at least 9 different illnesses such as polio and meningitis has been mandatory for Ontario children attending public elementary school for many years.

“We are already seeing healthcare settings, post-secondary schools, private sector businesses and other municipalities across the country implementing these policies to help protect our communities and our health care capacities. Where there are special circumstances, exemptions are provided.

“Though you can still contract and spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated, we’ve heard from our local medical and health staff the infectious period is shorter and it’s less likely you’ll need hospital care. Currently in Ontario, more than 90% of people in hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

“The City of Burlington is committed to the health and safety of its staff and visitors from the public who may interact with staff. The City will also be looking at a public policy that will come to Committee and Council in September – I look forward to that discussion with my Council colleagues and hearing from the community.”

City manager, Tim Commisso

City manager, Tim Commisso has had staff develop a policy that will go to Council September 9th. “Our number one goal throughout this pandemic” said Commisso “has been and continues to be focused on keeping all Burlington staff and residents safe while working to stop the spread of COVID-19. Bringing in a vaccination policy for our staff is another step we have taken to meet that goal.

He added: “The City will comply with its human rights and privacy obligations and accommodate employees who are legally entitled to accommodation, while protecting staff. I want to thank our staff for continuing to provide the valued City services to our residents during these trying times.”

 

 

 

 

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Hot weather and a concern about a 4th Covid19 wave kept people away from restaurants and parks.

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Bronte creek Provincial Park and local businesses in Burlington experienced low attendance over the weekend: was it the hot weather or concern over what appears to be a fourth Covid19 wave?

The usual crowd didn’t show up for the skateboard pad at Norton Park.

There were a handful of families in various parks  celebrating birthdays and giving children a chance to get outside.

Attendance was very low compared to their capacity during the summer season. Residents appeared to be hesitant about going to public places feeling it is safer to stay isolated at home.

Many families that did decide to go out this weekend enjoyed activities such as playing on the playground, riding bikes and hiking.

Traffic at the splash pads was very low. Maybe everyone was out of town at a cottage?

These low turn outs are being contributed to Covid cases on the rise while entering the fourth wave of Covid, being stuck in stage 3 of reopening and low vaccination rates.

Parks in the Orchard area also had low attendance despite the park facilities getting infrastructure upgrades.

Residents preferred to stay home over the weekend;  TV shows and board games for the family seemed to be what people were choosing to do..

Burlington has fallen short of its goal of having 90% of residents being vaccinated with 824,536 vaccine doses administered as of August 22nd.

The Covid19 new infection rate for the province on Sunday was 722 with two deaths.  The Delta variant is clearly out there – those not vaccinated are at serious risk – and when they are at risk we are put at risk as well.

The Bronte Creek parking lot was close to barren.

Public health experts have been warning about a 4th covid wave for months saying that the Covid Delta Variant will be the driving force in increased cases.

The un-vaccinated are still the most at risk and are encouraged to get vaccinated.

“They call it the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said infectious diseases specialist Dr. Anna Banerji, told Global News earlier in the week.

 

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West Nile virus positive mosquitoes found in Burlington and Milton

By Staff

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A batch of mosquitoes trapped this week in Milton has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

This is the first batch of WNV positive mosquitoes in Milton this year. Two other batches of mosquitoes testing positive for WNV were found in Burlington this year.

“Halton is committed to reducing West Nile virus in our communities through both education and preventative programs like larviciding,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Until the hard frosts of fall set in, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites.”

Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires that hold water.
Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.

• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.

• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.

• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied this year is available on the West Nile Virus page on halton.ca.
For more information about West Nile virus or to report standing water at public facilities, please visit halton.ca, call 311 or email wnv@halton.ca.

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Helping those who need help and taking care of ourselves - we can all get through this pandemic

By Staff

August 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Got this from people who are in the business of helping people.

Does the feeling expressed represent what most – maybe just many – feel?

There’s this tension everywhere right now – we’re all expecting another covid infestation and another shut-down – our worst fears.

But we’re all LOVING this opportunity to feel free again.

They follow this up with

“… reminding people to enjoy this great weather while it lasts, get out for a walk and enjoy this great City. With the Pandemic still hanging on we all know what we can do to try to protect ourselves and our neighbours – just follow the basic covid protocols we’ve heard so often – keep it up.

You can find a wealth of information about Mental health and COVID-19 at the Halton Region website here – https://www.halton.ca

For-Residents/Public-Health/Mental-Health COVID-19 is affecting our lives in many different ways.

It might sound stupid – maybe even too simple – but when the anxiety builds up and your worried, confused maybe even a little afraid – just take deep deep breathes. Your body and your mind will settle down.

It is normal to feel stress and concern. Remember to take care of your mental health, just as you would take care of your physical health. While physical distancing is important to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we can still find ways to stay connected through technology and practice self-care.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a colleague, friend, loved one or health professional if you need support.

St.Matthews Church on Plains Road is reminding people that there are students who could use some help.

And the good people at the Food Bank remind us: If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help, PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or make arrangements to pick it up through our curb-side pickup option. If you are a resident in Burlington, we are all here to help. Don’t struggle – give us a call

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Online registration for fall recreation programs opens August 28 - preview August 20th

By Staff

August 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Parks and Recreation will open online registration for fall Adult, Youth and pre-season Aquatic Leadership programs beginning Saturday, Aug. 28.

Adult registration will open at 9 a.m. and Youth and pre-season Aquatic Leadership program registration will open at 11 a.m.
Programs will be viewable online at Burlington.ca/recreation on Aug. 20, 2021.

Swimming lessons and additional Aquatic Leadership programming will be announced in September.

All City programs will continue to follow public health guidance when required, including physical distancing, capacity limits and wearing masks or face coverings. Individuals participating in an in-person program will be required to fill out the mandatory health screening form at Burlington.ca/screening before each session.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture said, hopefully: “Another season, another great set of recreation choices for residents to participate in for fun, exercise, learning or social opportunities. Our catalogue of programs is always changing to add new and interesting options on top of our traditional favourites that you’ll see every season.”

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